FA chiefs back status quo but demand improvement

However, the beleaguered Swede has been left under no illusions about the scale of improvement he must produce during October's critical final Group Six qualifying games against Austria and the leaders, Poland, if his position is to remain unthreatened.

Barwick convened an emergency meeting with Eriksson and senior FA international committee members on board the subdued flight from Belfast to Heathrow that followed the humiliating defeat by Northern Ireland at Windsor Park on Wednesday night. "We all have knives to our necks if we want to play in the World Cup," said Eriksson before take-off. Fortunately for him, though, none were allowed through security.

The FA would need to pay almost £12m to relieve Eriksson of his duties now, making it "completely impossible" that he will be dismissed. The England manager's £4.2m-a-year contract, which was renewed last March and runs until summer 2008, is "watertight", according to one informed source.

There are no clauses that allow the FA to dispense with the Swede's services if England fail to meet certain targets. The only circumstances in which Eriksson will part company with the FA before 2008 is if he chooses to step down or move elsewhere.

"It is completely impossible for the FA to sack him without honouring his contract in full," the source said. The FA cannot afford the £11.9m currently necessary for a pay-off, nor does it have the appetite to sack him while World Cup qualification is still only two Old Trafford victories away.

Eriksson insisted on Wednesday that he had no intention of resigning, although he has hinted in the past that failure to reach the 2006 finals could prompt such a move.

Yet while Eriksson gratefully received Barwick's backing he did not escape without some condemnation from the FA's international committee.

One high-ranking member said: "There was no form, no pattern. Where was the pride? He has got to sort the bloody thing out... We shouldn't be talking about hoping to go to the World Cup, surely we should be past that stage."

David Beckham, the England captain and the only player Eriksson permitted to speak to the media after the defeat, admitted he did not want to be associated with the Belfast embarrassment but that the squad would reveal its potential next month.

He said: "I've still got total belief in this team. We will qualify, although this is still tough to take. This is not the England I want to be part of and none of the players want that either. None of the fans want that either. But it's up to us to put it right."

The jury's verdict: Should Eriksson stay or go?

GRAHAM KELLY, Former FA chief executive

The whole England set-up, including all this talk about the captain effectively picking the team, is so cosy that it makes me really unhappy. A change is needed, soon.

CRAIG BROWN, Former Scotland manager

I'm never in favour of removing a manager. If a contract's been signed, both sides should honour it. England only have to win two home games to qualify, which is not a bad position to be in.

GERRY FRANCIS, Former Tottenham manager

What worries me is the formation and tactical side of the team. I can't understand why Eriksson is playing one-up against Wales and Northern Ireland.

HOWARD WILKINSON, Former England caretaker manager

There are two games left to qualify and he's got to stay and get the job done. England need continuity. There's no point in a change now. His record speaks for itself.

DAVID PLEAT, Former Tottenham manager

Eriksson is trying to be all things to all people, to accommodate players, especially Beckham, and he's lost the shape of the team and the balance.

TERRY BUTCHER, Former England captain

Eriksson and his players were a rudderless ship against Northern Ireland, with no direction, and as for formations - there were more formations than in a ballroom dancing team.

Voices
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond delivers his speech at the Scottish National Party (SNP) Spring Conference in Aberdeen, Scotland April 12, 2014.
voices
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Pare as Megan Draper and Jon Hamm as the troubled, melancholy Don Draper
tvAnd six other questions we hope Mad Men series seven will answer
Life & Style
The new low cost smartphone of Motorola, 'Motorola Moto G', is displayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 13, 2013. The smartphone, with dimensions 65.9mm W x 129.9mm H x 6.0 - 11.6mm D is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with quad-core 1,2 GHz CPU, a 4.5-inch display and Android Operating System 4.3 and a suggested price of $ 179 USD.
techData assessing smartphones has revealed tens of millions of phones are at risk of being harvested
News
David Beckham is planning to build a stadium in Miami’s port for a new football team he will own
news... in his fight for a football stadium in Miami's port area
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
weird newsMan live-photographs cracking of mysterious locked box on Reddit
Sport
Oliver Giroud kisses the Arsenal badge after giving the Gunners the lead
sportArsenal 3 West Ham 1: Two goals from the German striker and one piece of brilliance from Giroud puts the Gunners back above Everton
News
Plans to decriminalise non-payment of television licence fees would cost the BBC £500m according to estimates drawn up within the Corporation
people
News
weird news
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
filmAs 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star James Dean perfected his moody act
News
Obesity surgery in rats has been found to change the way the body processes alcohol
news
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
artThe Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
Life & Style
US Airways has been at the centre of a Twitter storm after it responded to customer complaints with a graphic sexual image
techUS Airways takes an interesting approach to customer service
Arts & Entertainment
Philip Arditti as Yossarian and Christopher Price as Milo Minderbinder in Northern Stage's 'Catch-22'
theatre
Arts & Entertainment
The Purple Wedding: Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell tie the knot
TV The second episode of the hit series featured a surprise for viewers
Life & Style
Back to nature: women with body issues have found naked yoga sessions therapeutic
lifeDoing poses in the altogether is already big in the US, and now it’s landed here – in mixed classes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

Politicians urged to find radical solution
Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

Ukraine crisis

How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

A history of the First World War in 100 moments
Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?